Things are heating up between the NBA and the Players Association over new guidelines for technical fouls being put in place for this season.
The NBA is cracking down on "overt" reactions by players after calls against them, whether it be verbal or otherwise – a move the PA says might actually be hurting the overall product.
In an effort to cut down on players and coaches complaining about calls, referees have been told to give technical fouls to players who gesture, continue arguing after being told to stop or approach refs aggressively. As well, if assistant coaches get up out of their chairs, they can be whistled for an infraction.
Here’s an example: LA Lakers forward Lamar Odom was tagged with a shooting foul last Wednesday, and after the whistle he kept his ‘offending arm’ in the air as a silent protest of sorts. Even thought he kept quiet his arm was raised for more than three seconds, which now equals an automatic technical.
He might not have left his wallet in El Segundo, but his wallet left El Segundo $2,000 lighter!
While that seems like a small sum of money for someone who is pulling in over $8-million for the upcoming season, Odom doesn’t see it that way, telling ESPN:
“That's a lot of money in America or anywhere. I don't want to give away $2,000 for going, 'Damn, I thought I had the ball!' or showing emotion. I want to keep my money, point blank."
Further to that, Odom says he thinks the league is delivering some mixed messages with this move:
"It's kind of crazy because that's what people love to see. You watch the commercials and the NBA has dunking, [players making] faces and 'Where Amazing Happens.’ Now it's like 'Where Normal Happens.' ... There's nothing amazing about not showing emotion."
Sure, showing emotion after being T’ed up is a bit different than going nuts after a big play, but I think he could be on to something there. Not everyone shares his point of view though, with some players and coaches, including Odom’s coach Phil Jackson, saying that some guys do take it too far.
The players union says they don’t know where this rule change is coming from because there has been no increase in player complaints, adding the changes were made without proper consultation with the PA. They’re even talking about legal action on the matter!
What do you think – should David Stern T-up the Union, or do they have a valid point?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the rules are enforced once we get into regular season play, but it’s my opinion that players should have an opportunity to argue a call.
That makes it appear as though the league is saying ‘referees don’t make mistakes,’ which we all know isn’t true, and then if a team does criticize their work they usually end up facing a fine! It’s a complex issue in some ways, but I don’t think this is the answer.
Speaking of the Lakers, there was another noteworthy incident involving a cheerleader from Wednesday’s preseason win over the Sacramento Kings.
LA’s Matt Barnes (brother of Eskimo Jason Barnes) got tangled up with the Kings’ Carl Landry, with the latter sent flying into a row of Laker Girls:
Not to worry though – The Huffington Post notes that Laker Girl “Ashley” is doing just fine.
(I'd like to send a special shout-out to 'the common cold' for making this blog, and my lack of social ambition/sleep on a Friday night possible. Couldn't do it without you!)